Beckenham Town 3-2 St Peter - You can't go to the final and lose, says Beckenham Town assistant Billy Walton

Tuesday 26th February 2019
Beckenham Town 3 – 2 St Peter
Location Eden Park Avenue, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3JL
Kickoff 26/02/2019 19:45

Kent Senior Trophy Semi-Final
Tuesday 26 February 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Eden Park Avenue

BECKENHAM TOWN assistant manager Billy Walton says it took a great effort to beat Jersey-based side St Peter to reach the Kent Senior Trophy Final for the first time in five years.

St Peter defeated Erith & Belvedere (3-1); Welling Town (2-1); Rochester United (2-1, after extra time) and beat Tunbridge Wells 11-10 on penalties after the game finished 3-3 after extra time to reach the Semi-Finals in their debut season in this competition.

Beckenham Town defeated Erith Town (2-0); Croydon (3-0) and Fisher (2-1) and will lock horns with Chatham Town in the Final in Maidstone on Sunday 14 April 2019.

James Collins' side defeated local rivals Hollands & Blair 2-0 in the other Semi-Final on 9 February.

Gary Freeman’s side scored both of their goals from set-pieces as Calvin Weir headed in an eighth minute free-kick, but Beckenham Town who went into the game without a win in three games, levelled through striker Luis Medina.

A crowd of 139 were treated to an entertaining game with both sides playing an attractive brand of football and Beckenham Town took the lead with 18 minutes left through Medina’s header, following a free-kick.

The final two goals were fantastic as Ruben Mendes drilled a beautiful free-kick into the top far corner from 25-yards, before Beckenham Town striker Shameek Farrell cut inside and crashed a shot into the top far corner from 30-yards to win the game just 140 seconds later.

Beckenham Town have crashed out of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division title race with 51 points from 27 games – 14 points adrift of leaders Corinthian with 11 games remaining.

St Peter are in second place of a seven-team Jersey Combination Premier Division and like their hosts, played good football.

“I’m over the moon, really pleased for the club, the manager, the chairman and the owner,” said Walton.

“Just hoping it instils a little bit of a thank you for messing the league up really. It’s no consolation deep down really but hopefully it will give something back, all the players give something back.

“Like a boring silly sausage I spent five hours yesterday watching them on You Tube.  They were a credit to the competition and a credit to their club to travel all this way in every round, it’s a credit to them. It took a really big effort from us tonight to beat them.”

St Peter opened the scoring with only seven minutes and 41 seconds on the clock following a well-worked set-piece routine.

Striker Daryl Wilson was tripped by Nathan Paul on the very edge of the box and Mendes drove in the resulting free-kick into the box and Weir nipped in front of Paul to find the near corner with a stooping header from six-yards out.

“It’s good because we got it videoed tonight so it will be interesting to watch it but I thought the guy got in front of him and flicked it in,” said Walton.

“A bit disappointing really but there again, I thought it was against-the-run-of-play to be honest with you.  It was the only way I could see them scoring.  I thought we were comfortable when they were knocking it long and trying to get in over the top of us on counter-attacks.”

Beckenham Town played with three centre-halves (Nathan Daly, Jez Hammond and Paul) with Greg Benbow and Jack Hope operating as full-backs and Hope played the ball inside to Stefan Wright, who swept his shot across goal and past the far post from 22-yards.

Billy Bennett bossed the midfield for Beckenham Town and he drove forward on a 30-yard run before releasing Benbow and his low cross set up Farrell, whose left-footed angled drive from 20-yards was blocked by the legs of visiting keeper Matt Donaldson, who was helped by centre-half Luke Campbell to ensure the ball failed to nestle inside the back of the net.

“There again, it’s some of the best football that we’ve played for a long time so tonight we created quite a few chances, especially in the first half. I thought we cut them open quite a lot,” added Walton.

Daly delivered a cross towards the edge of the St Peter box and the ball was flicked on by Joe Healy and striker Medina used his chest before hooking his left-footed half-volley over the crossbar from 12-yards.

Beckenham Town deservedly equalised with 20 minutes and 46 seconds on the clock.

Bennett played a sweet crossfield pass which found Wright in acres of space on the right-hand side of the penalty area as keeper Donaldson came a long way out but failed to deal with the pass and Wright put the ball on a plate for Medina, who swept the ball into the centre of the goal from 12-yards out.

Walton said: “I thought it was a bit of a pinball. I thought come on, which one is going to put it in the net? I think three of them had the opportunity to put it in the net and thankfully it broke to Luis and he did tuck it away so it was pleasing to see it go in.”

St Peter centre-half Jack Griffin hit a long ball out of defence which cut open the Beckenham back three but a poor touch inside the box from Mendes ensured Michael McEntegart gathered the ball.

The Beckenham Town keeper produced a brilliant save to deny St Peter taking the lead on the half-hour mark.

An unmarked Mendes drilled a right-footed shot from 40-yards, which was flying into the top left-hand corner, only for McEntegart to dive high to his right to use a strong right hand to push the ball over the bar.

Walton said: “I couldn’t believe he hit it from that far out and he struck it with so much power.  There’s me thinking that’s over in the garden, it was going top corner and it turned out Macca pulled off a great save to stop it.  That’s what he’s there for, that’s what goalkeepers do.”

St Peter were a threat from set-pieces and Mendes was some 35-yards out when he floated a free-kick into the Beckenham box and holding midfielder Ben Le Rougetel nipped in front of Bennett to flick his header into the keeper’s hands at the near post.

Beckenham broke on the counter-attack and Benbow released Farrell down the left and he reached the by-line before cutting the ball back to Medina at the near post and his right-footed shot flashed just past the near post from inside the six-yard box.

Bennett tried his luck from a free-kick from 35-yards, which dipped just over the St Peter crossbar, before McEntegart comfortably gathered Weir’s low free-kick which went around the wall at the other end just 100 seconds later.

Walton added:  “They looked dangerous, it’s one thing you can’t watch everything on the tele. It was one of the things they worked on and one of the things they were dangerous at. It was one of the things we talked about at half-time actually, don’t give them silly free-kicks in and around our penalty area.”

St Peter went close to scoring four minutes before the break when Mendes noticed McEntegart was off his line and rifled a right-footed shot on the turn from 50-yards, which only just cleared the crossbar with the goalkeeper back-peddling and almost embarrassed by the midfielder’s vision from just inside the Beckenham half.

Beckenham Town wasted a couple of glorious chances to go into the interval with the lead.

They produced a slick one-touch passing move through Healy and Bennett, who slipped the ball through the heart of the pitch but Medina was denied by the legs of the keeper when he had Donaldson to beat.

Walton said:  “That’s a goal, that’s got to be a goal! I just thought to myself please don’t let it be one of these nights where we’re missing chance-after-chance and they’re going to hit us on the counter-attack and nick a goal.

“It was a great bit of football, something that I’ve been crying out for them to do for the last eight weeks and now all off a sudden we’ve turned up and done it!”

And just 16 seconds later, Bennett picked up a loose ball on the left and swung over a cross towards the far post but an unmarked Wright steered his free header wide when well placed.

“I just thought we dominated them down the flanks. I thought we created quite a few opportunities with Benbow getting in down there and I just said to them (at half-time) to keep on doing what we’re doing and be a little bit cautious for their counter-attacking,” added Walton.

“I asked the lads at the back and defensive midfielders to just be very, very careful. If we lose the ball high up the pitch, that they’re counter-attacking on us and to make sure we stay nice and compact and not letting them counter on us and basically I just thought our quality and the way we was playing would beat them.”

St Peter started the second half on the front foot and should have scored a couple of goals inside the opening 10 minutes.

Walton was not pleased with a poor back pass from Paul from the right-back position, which lacked pace to reach McEntegart and Mendes intercepted the ball and Weir’s driven shot was cleared off the line by Hammond.

Walton added: “Things like that as a coach are so frustrating! Why have you done something like that? It’s just a simple back-pass, easy back pass to the keeper.  How have you under-hit it?  If they score from that you think they haven’t caused us no problems, we’ve caused our own downfall but luckily they didn’t get nothing out of it and we moved on.”

Griffin’s free-kick from the halfway line was knocked down by Weir inside the box and Le Rougetel’s diving header flashed just past the near post from eight-yards.

Beckenham Town grabbed the lead with 26 minutes and 21 seconds on the clock, courtesy of Medina’s tenth goal for the club this season.

Medina broke down the left before being fouled on the edge of the box and Bennett and Healy stepped over the ball in anticipation.

Bennett touched the ball to Healy, who slightly touched the ball for Bennett to whip in a great cross with his right-foot and Medina broke free from his marker at the near post to bury his header past Donaldson from 12-yards.

Walton said: “I’ve been crying out for them to take free-kicks, we do it in training and I said to them at half-time as well, what are we doing with our free-kicks?

“This is what we’re doing with our free-kicks! Me and Ricky Bennett demonstrated to them in the changing room how to do the free-kick. The first free-kick we done, we’ve done it properly and we scored. What a great goal! A good ball in and a great header.”

Walton added: “Joe Healy was a big difference for us tonight. He’s been there and done it and he’s very calm and he organises us and with Billy Bennett and Stefan Wright pulling off of him, it was a good partnership.

“Billy Bennett can do a lot more, there’s a lot more to come from Bill.  I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet, even at this stage of the season. Hopefully, it will give him a spur tonight to go on and get better and better and chip in with a couple of goals.”

The lively Medina nicked the ball off St Peter right-back Jordan Preston and broke forward before playing Benbow in on goal but Donaldson rushed off his line to narrow the angle and make a great block.

Walton added: “There again, it’s that little bit of quality in the final third where he’s in a great position, pick someone out Benbow, put that in the back of the net!”

St Peter equalised through a fantastic finish from Mendes, with 33 minutes and 38 seconds on the clock.

Walton was pretty harsh to blame goalkeeper McEntegart for the goal as Mendes
drilled his right-footed free-kick from 25-yards screaming into the top far corner, which no goalkeeper was going to stop.

“What can I say?  He’s hit the ball, one of those ones where he’s hit a good shot. Don’t get me wrong, Macca’s in there, he knows but the save he made in the first half evens itself out. He’s made a mistake. What can you say? It’s gone straight through him!  It’s gone straight between his hands into the top of the net. Powerfully hit but if I’m a defender, I can head that away. I would just headed that but there again, he’s made up for really with other saves and penalty saves I can tell you about but I can forgive him for that.”

With the crowd expecting extra-time, Bennett fed the ball into Farrell, who cut inside and smashed a left-footed shot screaming into the top far corner from 30-yards to win it for Beckenham Town just 140 seconds later.

“That goal should win the cup! That’s one of the goals everybody here tonight pays their money to come and see. That’s a quality goal at any level. If that’s in the Premiership they’ll be showing that over and over again. What a goal from the lad,” Walton said of Farrell’s third goal of the season.

Benbow played a give-and-go with Medina and was denied when Donaldson got down quickly to his left and used his fingertips to flick the ball behind for a corner.

St Peter substitute left-back Sam Luce threw a long throw into the Beckenham box, which was cleared out to Le Rougetel and his deflected drive from 35-yards was held by McEntegart, diving to his left.

St Peter had one last chance inside stoppage time but this time Mendes drilled another free-kick just past the far post from a similar position as his wonder goal.

“When he ran up to hit it, I’m standing there and I’m praying to my mum and my dad and my brother and I’m saying to them ‘please don’t let him hit another one’. Can he really hit another one that well and luckily he never,” added Walton.

“Where does the referee get six minutes of extra-time from? Not one trainer went on the pitch, where have you got six minutes from?!”

Looking further ahead to the Kent Senior Trophy Final against Chatham Town, Walton said: “It only means something if you win it! It doesn’t mean nothing if you go there and lose, tonight will be forgotten about and Shameek’s goal will be forgotten about, all the effort to get there.

“We played Fisher in a Quarter-Final, which was an extremely hard game. We’ve come here against a good side, another hard game.  You can’t go to the final and lose. I don’t want to lose.”

Chatham Town are presently in third-place in the table with 55 points from 25 games and are 10 points adrift of the league leaders.

“It’s great because they’re most probably one of the favourites now to win the league so I want to play against the best teams at the best time so there’s no complaints. Play them with their best team when they’re absolutely red hot and see how you get on.”

Cray Valley manager Kevin Watson was in attendance tonight as he takes his side to Eden Park Avenue in the League on Saturday.

The fourth-placed Millers will play a two-legged Semi-Final against league rivals Canterbury City in The Buildbase FA Vase in March to see which Kent club will make it through to the Wembley Final against Northwich Victoria or Chertsey Town on Sunday, 19 May.

“Another great game. I hope they come her and don’t rest no one.  Let’s play them, play them when they’re at their best. There’s no hiding then. There’s no excuses. They’re on form, they’re red hot. 

“They’ve had an absolutely fantastic achievement to get to the Semi-Finals of The FA Vase, which everyone is jealous off, so what a great game for us to play.”

Beckenham Town: Michael McEntegart, Jack Hope (Richard Atkins 81), Greg Benbow, Jez Hammond, Nathan Daly, Nathan Paul, Stefan Wright, Billy Bennett, Luis Medina, Shameek Farrell (Carlos Branco Urquiza 90), Joe Healy.
Subs: Ike Robinson, Jimmy Rogers, Lugman Adenisa

Goals: Luis Medina 21, 72, Shameek Farrell 81

Booked: Nathan Paul 36, Joe Healy 54, Stefan Wright 86

St Peter: Matt Donaldson, Jordan Preston, James Carr (Sam Luce 87), Ben Le Rougetel, Jack Griffin, Luke Campbell, Jake Pringle, Sean Lambert (Ben Gallichan 59), Daryl Wilson (Ryan Marcinko 87), Ruben Mendes, Calvin Weir.

Goals: Calvin Weir 8, Ruben Mendes 79

Booked: Calvin Weir 34, Ruben Mendes 71, Ben Gallichan 76

Attendance: 139
Referee: Mr Daniel Blades (Wrotham)
Assistants: Mr Harry Graham (Orpington) & Mr Thomas Burman
Fourth Official: Mr James Black (Orpington)